The Modern Storage Auction Is Hosted Online

January 30, 2012 6
The Modern Storage Auction Is Hosted Online

by Joel Blain, guest contributor

A year ago at Storage Mississauga, we were experiencing a decline in the sale prices of units that were put to auction. This was due in part to how the demand for used furniture, tools and materials was in decline, in a consumer economy where you can have most anything you want at “no money down.”

The typical buyers of these units were second-hand dealers accustomed to paying 5-10 cents on the dollar of value. Our solution to this dilemma was to find a better way of marketing of these auction units to a broader audience, hoping to find “user” buyers and achieve a higher market value for unit contents.

Given the success of online venues such as eBay, Craigslist and Kijiji, the idea of an online auction was a no-brainer. But as with most good ideas, the implementation is more critical and challenging than coming up with the idea.

We began by hiring a videographer to make short videos of the unit contents. In the first video we detailed the contents. This proved to be in error, as it seems that in most cases, the mystery has more value than the actual contents. It also cost a lot more recording time. We now do a simple pan of the unit contents from the open door.

In the beginning, we ran our auction bidding process through eBay. This worked well, as it gave a signature of credibility to what was a new process for our buyers. The advent of the TV shows Auction Hunters and Storage Wars was the icing on our cake. Our site visits jumped tenfold, from just under a 1,000 visits per month to just under 10,000 visits.

Although eBay gave us some initial credibility, its site rules limited what we could demand as a completion time frame for the buyer. Not to mention they charged us a 5% processing fee— which would have been fair if they were providing the buyers, but in our case, we were. eBay was only providing the bidding platform.

We have since migrated to our own onsite bidding, and are in the process of incorporating a shopping cart system that will mandate that bids be guaranteed by a credit card.

The net result has been a dramatic success. Auction unit sale prices have risen dramatically, in some cases exceeding the outstanding rent— generally three to four times greater than they were previously. Another benefit is that we no longer have to host the physical crowds of onlookers that show up for a traditional public auction.

This is a guest blog post by Joel Blain with Storage Mississauga. If you’d like to contribute to this blog, send your article topic idea to 

Like this post? Subscribe to the Storage Facilitator newsletter

* = required field
  • Ryan @ Planting Dollars

    Wow, pretty creative idea, I never placed the two ideas together. How long does the buyer have to remove the items from the unit?

  • Joelmblain

    Hi Ryan,

    The buyer has 1 week to remove the items from the unit after the payment has gone through. Thanks for your question.

  • storage Tulsa OK

    Indeed, an online bidding system can minimize the challenges brought about by an on site bidding. The World Wide Web has definitely helped in making certain deals more convenient both for the auctioning party and the bidders.

    • Rachel Greenfield

      Have you tried online bidding at any of your own auctions? Thanks for reading, by the way.

  • public self storage Rockford

    online storage is best and this is the latest trend of our society. thanks you share with others.

  • homes for sale westminster

    Whether you are looking for a job, on lack of employment or currently operating at a job that you can’t stand, dealing self storage space systems at market is an chance of anyone that is looking for a new way to make very decent cash with very little work and financial commitment. This is what storage space market is all about: purchasing low and promoting great. No other income generating structure is better than that.